- What are topical corticosteroids?
- What are examples of topical corticosteroids available in the US?
- What are the side effects of topical corticosteroids?
- What formulations of topical corticosteroids are available?
- What drugs interact with topical corticosteroids?
- Are topical corticosteroids safe to use while pregnant or breastfeeding?
What are topical corticosteroids?
Corticosteroid hormones are naturally occurring hormones produced by the adrenal glands within the body. Topical corticosteroids are synthetic (man-made) corticosteroid medications used for treating skin conditions such as rash, dermatitis, itching, eczema, and psoriasis. Topical corticosteroids have potent anti-inflammatory actions and also suppress the immune response. Topical corticosteroids are used based on their potency, the area of the body to which they will be applied, and type of skin condition being treated.
What are examples of topical corticosteroids available in the US?
Topical corticosteroids are grouped according to their potency:
- Very high potency: betamethasone dipropionate (Diprolene), clobetasol propionate (Clobex, Temovate, Olux), diflorasone diacetate, fluocinonide (Vanos), and halobetasol propionate (Ultravate).
- High potency: amcinonide (Cylocort), desoximetasone (Topicort, Topicort LP), halcinonide (Halog), and triamcinolone acetonide (Kenalog).
- Medium potency: betamethasone valerate (Luxiq), clocortolone pivalate (Cloderm), fluocinolone acetonide (Synalar), flurandrenolide (Cordran), fluocinonide (Lidex), fluticasone propionate (Cutivate), hydrocortisone butyrate (Locoid), hydrocortisone valerate (Westcort), mometasone furoate (Elocon), and prednicarbate (Dermatop).
- Low potency: alclometasone dipropionate (Aclovate), desonide (Desowen, Verdeso), and hydrocortisone (Hytone).
What are the side effects of topical corticosteroids?
Common side effects of topical corticosteroids are:
- redness, and
Long-term use can lead to loss of skin tone, deterioration of skin cells, and risk of infections.
What formulations of topical corticosteroids are available?
Topical corticosteroids are available in:
- oil, and
What drugs interact with topical corticosteroids?
The risk of topical corticosteroids interacting with other drugs is low, and they do not have significant interactions with other drugs. Administration of other topical medications should be separated from administration of topical corticosteroid to avoid any potential interaction and diminished effect.
Are topical corticosteroids safe to use while pregnant or breastfeeding?
There is no evidence of safe and effective use of topical corticosteroids in pregnant mothers. Therefore, they should be used only if clearly needed. Long term use and large applications of topical corticosteroids may cause birth defects in the unborn. It is not known whether topical corticosteroids enter breast milk. Therefore, caution must be exercised before using it in nursing mothers. Topical corticosteroids should not be applied to the breasts of nursing mothers unless the mothers instructed to do so by the physician.
Latest Skin News
Topical corticosteroids are synthetic corticosteroid drugs prescribed to treat skin conditions like dermatitis, eczema, rash, itching, and psoriasis. Review side effects, drug interactions, storage, dosage, and pregnancy safety information prior to using this medication.
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Related Disease Conditions
Eczema is a general term for many types dermatitis (skin inflammation). Atopic dermatitis is the most common of the many types of eczema. Other types of eczema include: contact eczema, allergic contact eczema, seborrheic eczema, nummular eczema, stasis dermatitis, and dyshidrotic eczema.
Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac
Poison ivy, oak, and sumac contain a substance called urushiol, which causes a rash on people who come in contact with them. Symptoms and signs include a red, swollen, itchy, blistering, bumpy rash. Treatment involves rinsing the exposed area with water, taking antihistamines and over-the-counter pain medications, using topical treatments such as calamine lotion, and applying cool compresses.
Psoriasis is a long-term skin condition that may cause large plaques of red, raised skin, flakes of dry skin, and skin scales. There are several types of psoriasis, including psoriasis vulgaris, guttate psoriasis, inverse psoriasis, and pustular psoriasis. Symptoms vary depending on the type of psoriasis the patient has. Treatment of psoriasis may include creams, lotions, oral medications, injections and infusions of biologics, and light therapy. There is no cure for psoriasis.
The word "rash" means an outbreak of red bumps on the body. The way people use this term, "a rash" can refer to many different skin conditions. The most common of these are scaly patches of skin and red, itchy bumps or patches all over the place.
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Itch (Itching or Pruritus)
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Hailey-Hailey Disease (Familial Benign Pemphigus)
Hailey-Hailey disease (familial benign pemphigus) is a hereditary skin disease that causes painful blistering the skin folds. There is no specific treatment for this disease, and treatment focuses on alleviating symptoms and signs.
Atopic Dermatitis vs. Eczema
Atopic dermatitis and eczema both refer to skin conditions. Atopic dermatitis is a cause of eczema, which refers to skin conditions that cause inflammation and irritation. The terms are sometimes used interchangeably. Eczema is not a condition in itself, but a description for a group of skin diseases that cause skin inflammation and irritation.
Lice vs. Fleas
Lice and fleas are small wingless insects. Lice are parasites that can crawl and infest the human skin and scalp. Although they can bite people, fleas are parasites that mainly feed on non-human hosts and can jump from one host to another. Lice infestations and fleabites are treatable and typically do not cause long-term problems with proper treatments for home, people, and pets.
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